In recent months, Professor Karl Wohlmuth was busy in various directions. He did various evaluations of research proposals for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, specifically for the Georg Forster Research Fellowship Programmes for Experienced Researchers and for the Visiting Research Fellowship Programme of the Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge, UK, beside of routine evaluations of incoming articles and research proposals. As he was himself a scientific supervisor of Alexander von Humboldt/Georg Forster senior research fellows, he knows the character of these very competitive applications quite well.
Professor Karl Wohlmuth was also involved as an expert in a quite interesting teaching project. His duty was it to give his expert opinion on Kenya in the year 2045. It was the task to review the current situation of Kenya and to give a prognosis about the major trends for Kenya up to the year 2045. It was interesting to learn from the task that Kenya is preparing not only for the digital age but also for managing the impacts of the climate crisis and the long-term effects of COVID-19. All this is done by reviewing and adapting the constitution and the planning procedures of Kenya, the local development and decentralization approaches for the counties in Kenya, and the whole institutional infrastructure of the country so that a knowledge society and a participatory society can emerge in Kenya.
A highlight of the work was the release of volume 22 of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook for the years 2020/2021 on the theme ”Sustainable Development Goal Nine - Challenges and Opportunities”. This Open Access Publication was received with great expectations and huge interest by policymakers in Africa, as it is one of the few publications for giving concrete examples how SDG 9 (on industry, innovation, and infrastructure) can be promoted in Africa. The recommendations worked out from the authors of the Festschrift “30 Years Anniversary of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook (1989 – 2019)” were already taken up and considered in the new issue. Also, the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen did now mostly finalize volume 23 (for 2022/2023) of the Yearbook with the theme “Business Opportunities, Start-ups and Digital Transformation in Africa”. It was a good opportunity to share experiences with so many guest editors, authors, reviewers, and other contributors. The volume is composed of four Units (Parts) and gives new insights on digital transformation, digital entrepreneurship, and new business opportunities arising in this context. There is also a strong Unit with Book Reviews and Book Notes on publications along the theme. The volume is based on country cases and on analytical surveys. The Editorial Committee for the Yearbook has already decided about the focus of volume 24 (for 2024). The title will be: “Fiscal Capacity and Resource Mobilization in Africa - New Strategies and New Instruments”. Covid-19 and the need of financing for mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis have revealed the importance of new strategies for domestic resource mobilization in Africa and of getting to new long-term global financing mechanisms for Africa’s restructuring and development processes.
On Sudan Studies, Professor Karl Wohlmuth has published two essays to highlight for an international Handbook on Near and Middle East Studies the country cases of “Sudan” and “South Sudan”. It was done in an interdisciplinary manner, covering culture, geography, history, economy, and politics of the two countries. There was also an intensified co-operation with Professor Samia Nour, University of Khartoum, Sudan on “COVID-19 and impacts on households and firms in Sudan” and on the “End of the <Sudanese Revolution> on 25 October 2021 after breaking with the regime of Al-Bashir in April 2019 after 30 years”. Professor Wohlmuth did prepare a note for the international press about the event.
New publications were done on the theme of “Comparing Waste Management Policies of Nigeria and Germany – What can the two countries learn from each other” (written together with Professor Reuben A. Alabi from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria). A deep analysis resulted which found interest in both countries. The authors have followed for the two countries the same system of classification for the waste management actions and policies which were discussed. Also, a blog was written about the Aggression War by Russia on the Ukraine and what this means for future academic cooperation (together with Professor Axel Sell). The Faculty of Economics and Business Studies of the University of Bremen and IWIM (Institute for World Economics and International Management) had and still has impressive co-operations with universities in the Ukraine.
Professor Wohlmuth did lecture at a conference in Bremen by Development NGOs about “Lessons from the Corona and the Economic Crisis for the African Continent”. The presentation did outline the major twelve (12) lessons which should be considered by policymakers and donors, and definitely also by the community of development researchers. The conference did compare country cases of Africa with country cases of Latin America, but considered also more general issues of the global health crisis and the health crisis in the Global South. A blog was written on the twelve (12) lessons for Africa by Professor Karl Wohlmuth on these issues (in German).
Professor Wohlmuth did participate at numerous other Zoom scientific conferences and launches of new publications. Launches of new studies, presentations of new OECD studies, and workshops on current political, developmental and economic issues show the advantages of virtual meetings. This format may be a good addition to other forms of meetings and presentations (also for Post-COVID times).
At the occasion of the celebration of the “Anniversary after 50 Years of the University of Bremen (1971 - 2021)” Professor Wohlmuth has also contributed to the Festschrift prepared by the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies of the University of Bremen. He was one of the first professors appointed in 1971 for the research and teaching field of “Comparative Economic Systems”. There was a huge programme placed for the year 2021 to celebrate the anniversary in the City of Bremen and at the Campus. The University of Bremen started in 1971 with various interesting and highly important experiments (interdisciplinary research and teaching, orientation towards practical application of theoretical reasoning, fair participation of all stakeholders at the university, strong focus on Third World issues, teaching the understanding of the evolution of the current socio-economic system in all faculties, and new forms of organizing the university through collective and participatory meetings and decision-making).
Professor Samia Nour from the Economics Faculty of the Khartoum University in Sudan has done important research on the economic impacts of COVID-19 in her country. Her report “The Impact of COVID-19 on Households and Firms in the MENA Region: the case of Sudan” is part of an ERF (Economic Research Forum) Research Project: “The Impact of COVID-19 on Households and Firms in the MENA Region”, and it allows comparative analyses for MENA Region countries. Professor Nour supports the Sudan Studies at Bremen and is Book Reviews and Book Notes Editor of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook. Professor Nour will provide for a short Policy Brief version of the study for the SERG Discussion Papers at IWIM.
Professor Samia Nour writes about the content of her study (see the full study for download: Sudan Final Revised Draft – The Impact of COVID-19): “This paper discusses the impacts of COVID-19 on households and firms in Sudan as a case study of the MENA countries. The research applies descriptive and comparative approaches and uses new primary data obtained from the ERF (Economic Research Forum) COVID-19 MENA Monitor Household Survey (2021) and from the World Bank and Sudan Central Bureau of Statistics High Frequency Survey on COVID-19 (2020). Our results with data from the World Bank Survey on COVID-19 (2020) show the impact of COVID-19 on the employment status that appears from the loss of jobs for the majority and nearly two thirds of households during June – July 2020. We explain that the main reason for the households‘ loss of jobs, additional unemployment, and even the change of jobs was because of business / government closures due to coronavirus legal restrictions. The impact of COVID-19 also appears from the loss of payments for nearly a fifth of households, the loss of partial payment for nearly half of households, and the loss and the reduction of households‘ means of livelihood or sources of income since mid-March 2020 from non-farm family business, income from properties, investments or savings, and income from family farming, livestock or fishing. The impact of COVID-19 on micro, small and medium size enterprises appears to result from temporary or permanent closures of establishments, from substantial decreases in sales, or from stagnation in sales.
Our results from the ERF COVID-19 MENA Monitor Survey data (2021) show the impacts of COVID-19 on the labour market and on the working conditions that appear to result from the increase in temporary or permanent layoffs/suspension of workers, reduced working hours, reduced wage payments, and delays in wage payment for workers in Sudan between April 2021 and August 2021. These results are consistent with the results of other MENA countries. Between April 2021 and August 2021 the delay in wage payments has more than doubled; the temporary layoffs/suspension of workers have increased from nearly a tenth in April 2021 to nearly a fifth in August 2021. In August 2021, the employment status of workers in business indicates temporary layoffs/suspension of workers for nearly a fifth of the workers, while permanent layoffs/suspension of workers had reached nearly a tenth of the workers, and the delays and changes in wage payments had accounted for nearly a quarter of the workers.
Attainment of social insurance decreased from nearly a third of all households in April 2021 compared to nearly a quarter of all households in August 2021. Our results concerning the temporary or permanent closures of business due to factors related to COVID-19, the reduction in business working hours, the challenges facing businesses due to loss in demand, and the declining access to customers due to mobility restrictions in Sudan are consistent with the results across other MENA countries. From policy perspectives our findings indicate that the most common types of support in Sudan were business loans, salary subsidies, and reduced/delayed payment of taxes; these results are also consistent with the results in other MENA countries. Our findings regarding the limited provision of social protection (social insurance) and regarding the importance of supporting social protection for workers in Sudan are consistent with the findings in the other MENA countries. The major policy recommendation is for increasing government support to manage COVID-19 economic and social impacts on workers in Sudan.”
The reports on the impacts of COVID-19 and the following other reports on education, digital transformation, and technological capabilities written by Professor Samia Nour were relevant for policymakers in Sudan and in other MENA Region countries:
1. The United Nations Educational, Scientific And Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States, Consultancy Research Report “Issues of inclusion and capabilities for establishing the knowledge societies and the potential role of open science in the Arab States”, UNESCO Cairo, Egypt, (July – November 2021) (in Arabic).
2. The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), Consultancy Research Report “Innovation and Technological Aspects in the Islamic World”, Chapter 3 in: ICESCO, “The Possible Futures of the Islamic World in the fields of Education, Sciences, Culture and Technologies”, ICESCO, Rabat, Morocco (April – November 2021).
3. Economic Research Forum (ERF) for Arab countries and Turkey, Research Project in collaboration with South-South Global Thinkers – A Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Cooperation (SSC), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), “South-South Cooperation - Technology and Digital Transformation in the Arab Countries”, The Economic Research Forum (ERF) for the Arab countries and Turkey (ERF), Cairo, Egypt (July 2021- January 2022).
4. Economic Research Forum (ERF) for Arab countries and Turkey and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Programme Joint Research Project, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Households and Firms in the MENA Region: the case of Sudan”, The Economic Research Forum (ERF) for the Arab countries and Turkey (March 2021– January 2022).
5. Economic Research Forum (ERF) for Arab countries and Turkey and International Labour Organization (ILO), “Second Report on Jobs and Growth in North Africa: the Impact of COVID-19 in North Africa: Sudan Country Chapter (2022)”, Advancing the Decent Work Agenda in North Africa (ADWA) (August 2021 – February 2022), as the part of the ERF-ILO ADWA Project (2020-2023). (Co-authors: Caroline Krafft, Samia Mohamed Nour, and Ebaidalla Mahjoub).
6. Economic Research Forum (ERF) for Arab countries and Turkey and International Labour Organization (ILO), “First Report on Jobs and Growth in North Africa: Sudan Country Chapter (2020)”, Advancing the Decent Work Agenda in North Africa (ADWA) (April 2020 – August 2021), as part of the ERF-ILO ADWA Project (2020-2023). (Co-authors: Ebaidalla Mahjoub and Samia Mohamed Nour).
Links to important partners of these projects:
ERF/Economic Research Forum for Arab countries and Turkey: https://erf.org.eg/
ADWA/Advancing the Decent Work Agenda in North Africa: https://www.ilo.org/africa/technical-cooperation/WCMS_673349/lang--en/index.htm
ICESCO/Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: https://www.icesco.org/en/
AFD/Agence Française de Développement: https://www.afd.fr/fr
SERG Discussion Papers at IWIM: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/sudan_economy_research_group/
It is good news that volume 23 (2022/2023) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook is now finalized by the editors of the forthcoming yearbook. The title is “Business Opportunities, Start-ups and Digital Transformation in Africa”. The theme for volume 23 (2022/2023) is related to the ongoing global digital transformation, with impacts on productive sectors, entrepreneurs, households, and the society also in Africa. African countries are quite differently advancing in the process of digital transformation, as some African countries are even leading in this process by presenting digital solutions to current problems as we could see in the COVID-19 crisis, while others lag behind. The COVID-19 crisis has revealed that health systems, education systems, government structures, financial services firms, and manufacturing processes in industry are impacted by the digital transformation. Digital platforms give access to medical innovations, give information about lockdown modalities and hygiene advice, and provide for local availability of personal health protection utensils so that also those living in remote rural areas and in semi-urban areas can be reached. Those who are working in informal sector occupations get also access to digital media and to digital technologies. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies are widely spread in economic sectors of Africa. Digital entrepreneurship is playing an increasing role, and the number of start-ups is increasing in Africa. Some start-ups move along their lifecycle (establishing, consolidating, growing, and internationalizing); when they are growing, they become attractive partners of established firms. In some manufacturing sub-sectors of Africa we see a process of “repurposing” of industries towards producing basic goods for protecting people from COVID-19 and for supplying instruments to assist infected patients in hospitals and in care. It is obvious that the business opportunities in Africa are increasing in many directions with the spread of digital technologies; the country cases in this volume are of great interest in this context.
Volume 23 (2022/2023) will have four Units (so we call the various parts of the volumes). The forthcoming volume benefitted from guest editors and editors who selected from the great number of proposed contributions the most appropriate ones, decided upon after a rigorous review process. As the African Development Perspectives Yearbook is now an Open Access publication, it is policy to step up the review process to highest international standards. The African Development Perspectives Yearbook is now the most important English-language annual publication on Africa in Germany, and the publication is of increasing interest for African policymakers as the inclusive and sustainable development strategies for Africa play a great role in all the Units and in all the Volumes. Unit 1 is on General Issues of Digital Transformation, Digital Entrepreneurship and Development of Business Opportunities. Unit 1 contains five essays: an essay on the interaction between productive capacities and digital transformation in Africa, an essay on “Silicon Valley” type-digital zones in Africa, an essay on Diaspora Digital Entrepreneurs in and from Africa, an essay on the role of the finance sector for digital transformation, and an essay on the digitalization of pharmaceutical industries and of health sectors in Africa. There is a country focus on Cameroon and Nigeria in Unit 1. Unit 2 is on Digital Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation in West Africa, with four essays on case studies in Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Ghana. Focus is on digital start-ups and their environment and on business conglomerates which are growing by using 4IR technologies. It is the intention to analyse the new business opportunities and the opportunities for the growth of firms. It is of interest to study the competitive position of the start-ups and the small digital enterprises and as well the policy approaches of the governments to support such enterprises. Unit 3 is on South Africa, by focussing on the role of Digital Development Centres of Universities to support households and firms in their surroundings. Case studies in the four essays which are included in the Unit 3 relate to the digital support of small female food producers and to the role of digital twinning technologies for agriculture development, while the other two essays highlight issues for the upgrading of education and health sectors through digital technologies. Unit 4 is on Book Reviews and Book Notes, mainly related to new publications on Digital Transformation, Start-ups and Business Opportunities. These four Units give new insights into the spread of 4IR technologies over sectors, activities, countries, and regions through the creation of new enterprises and the digital mobilization of established firms in Africa, but the policy issues and the government actions towards digitalization have also a central role.
The Editorial Committee has decided about the title and the focus of volume 24 (2024). The volume will have the title “Fiscal Capacity and Resource Mobilization in Africa - New Strategies and New Instruments”. The COVID 19 crisis has impacted heavily on the macroeconomics of African countries - through lockdowns and isolations, but mainly through the interaction of detrimental supply and demand shocks. Important issues in relation to the theme of the planned volume are the following: The share of tax revenues to GDP in Africa is stagnating and the share of non-tax revenues to GDP is declining, volatile, and irregular; so there is need to arrange for a new strategy for taxation and for increasing non-tax revenues. As COVID 19 has increased the overall budget deficits of African countries and has created new debt problems in an environment of insufficient global debt servicing support measures, new national, regional and global strategies at resource mobilization are needed. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will also have repercussions on the fiscal capacity, positive and negative ones; all this will depend on the type and speed of implementation of policy actions for the AfCFTA. Some social sectors, like health and education, but also infrastructure sectors, such as water and sanitation, transport infrastructure and logistics, will need more investment and will depend on appropriate fiscal space.
Various sub-sectors for the digital transformation (ICT and digital network infrastructure, public support for the spread of 4IR technologies) will need more investment and funds for operations and maintenance. Also, social safety nets for the poor and for neglected social groups have to be reviewed and extended, what can be better done with new digitalization instruments. The transformation of key economic sectors will also benefit from strategies to increase the fiscal capacity and to mobilize resources at all government levels. New foreign debt strategies and new approaches to generate global funds for key policy fields in Africa play a role. The fiscal capacity at sub-national levels is of interest as well as the fiscal capacity at the level of regional economic communities in Africa. Not only new strategies for increasing the fiscal capacity are requested urgently, but also new budget instruments for policy design, policy evaluation, policy monitoring, and policy implementation are needed.
An International Call for Papers for volume 24 (2024) will be released soon. It is expected that again guest editors will assist the volume editors from the Editorial Committee in the further work on the newly planned yearbook edition. Also numerous reviewers will help the editors to support the project.
Access to Information about the African Development Perspectives Yearbook: An Open Access Publication Project
Access to Information about the Festschrift for the African Development Perspectives Yearbook (The 30 Years Anniversary - 1989-2019): The Festschrift contains a lot of recommendations for the future work of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook collaborators and partners.
Second Edition of the Festschrift:
Festschrift of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen at the occasion of:
Thirty Years (1989 - 2019) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook – Impacts on Policy Reforms in Africa
A Collection of Essays, Statements, and Commentaries by Editors, Contributors, Sponsors, and Supporters
Compiled by Professor Karl Wohlmuth, University of Bremen, Chief Editor of the Yearbook since 1989
First Edition November 2020, Second Edition January 2021
Das Bremer entwicklungspolitische Netzwerk e. V. (BeN) veranstaltete in Kooperation mit dem Afrika Netzwerk Bremen (ANB) und dem Bremer Informationszentrum für Menschenrechte und Entwicklung (biz) am 1. Dezember 2021 eine Tagung zum Thema “Lehren aus der Corona- und Wirtschaftskrise für die nachhaltige Entwicklung im Globalen Süden“. Das Programm (vgl.: PDF Tagung Lehren aus der Corona-Pandemie) beinhaltete Vorträge zu den Auswirkungen der Pandemie auf die Erreichung der Nachhaltigkeitsziele und zum Zustand der Globalen Gesundheitspolitik, aber auch Vorträge zu den Auswirkungen auf und Lektionen für den lateinamerikanischen Kontinent und für den afrikanischen Kontinent. Der Bremer Entwicklungsökonom Professor Karl Wohlmuth referierte über die „Lektionen aus der Corona- und Wirtschaftskrise für den afrikanischen Kontinent“. In drei Arbeitsgruppen wurden dann spezifische Themen der Krise diskutiert. Dann folgte eine Podiumsdiskussion mit dem Thema, wie die deutsche Entwicklungspolitik in dieser Zeit wirksamer gestaltet werden kann (vgl. zu der Online-Tagung auch: https://ben-bremen.de/news/lehren-aus-der-corona-und-wirtschaftskrise-fuer-die-nachhaltige-entwicklung-im-globalen-sueden/). In Bremen gibt es viele Vereine und Initiativen, die sich bei der Corona-Soforthilfe engagieren (vgl. dazu den Bericht: https://ben-bremen.de/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/FINAL_Corona-Soforthilfe-Bericht-extra-klein.pdf).
Der Bremer Professor Karl Wohlmuth ging in seiner Präsentation auf zwölf Lehren ein, die sich für Afrika abzeichnen (vgl. die Langfassung der Präsentation - Wohlmuth-Corona-Lehren Afrika-10-2021 - und die Kurzfassung der Präsentation – Kurzversion-Wohlmuth-Corona-Lehren Afrika-11-2021). Die zwölf Lehren für Afrika bedeuten, dass die globale und die regionale Gesundheits- und Wirtschaftspolitik dringend umgestellt werden müssen, dass nationale und regionale Strategien der Entwicklung des Gesundheitssektors in Afrika höhere Priorität haben müssen und viel besser koordiniert werden müssen, dass die pharmazeutische Industrie und die Industrie für medizinische Hilfsmittel und Ausrüstungen in Afrika regional gefördert werden müssen und sich aus diversen Abhängigkeiten von OECD-Ländern und Schwellenländern wie China und Indien befreien müssen, dass die personelle Ausstattung der lokalen Gesundheitsdienste in Afrika verbessert werden müssen und wichtige Akteure näher bei den ländlichen und städtischen Haushalten agieren müssen, und dass schließlich die exzellenten Forschungen in Afrika in den Bereichen Diagnose, Therapie und Impfstoffentwicklung sehr stark intensiviert werden müssen. In einem Blog geht der Bremer Afrikaexperte Karl Wohlmuth auf die zwölf Lehren für Afrika näher ein.
Im Rahmen der Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen wird das Thema wissenschaftlich von unseren Kooperationspartnern weiter untersucht, und Ergebnisse der Forschung werden in den Ausgaben des African Development Perspectives Yearbook und in anderen Publikationsreihen des IWIM veröffentlicht. Im Band 23 des African Development Perspectives Yearbook (für 2022/2023), der in Kürze fertiggestellt wird, finden sich relevante Beiträge zu Nigeria und zu Südafrika. Professor Samia Nour von der Khartoum University im Sudan hat wichtige wissenschaftliche Arbeiten zu den ökonomischen Auswirkungen von COVID-19 auf die Haushalte und Unternehmen im Sudan vorgelegt (vgl. dazu: First Draft - The Impact of COVID-19 und Sudan Final Revised Draft - The Impact of COVID-19); sie wird demnächst auch eine Kurzfassung für die SERG Discussion Papers des IWIM verfassen. Die Daten zu den Analysen beziehen sich auf drei Erhebungen. Für die erste und zweite Welle von COVID-19 im Sudan wurde auf den ERF COVID MENA Monitor Survey (April bis August 2021) Bezug genommen; auf Erhebungen für die erste Welle von COVID-19 beruht der World Bank Sudan Households COVID-19 Survey (für 2020). Beide Datengrundlagen und die Auswertung durch Professor Samia Nour ermöglichen es, fein abgestimmte Politikempfehlungen zu geben, die zur Existenzsicherung von Unternehmen und Haushalten beitragen können.
Volume 22 (2020/21) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook was published in 2021 by the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen and LIT Publishers. The team of editors (Tobias Knedlik, Samia Satti Osman Mohamed Nour, Anthony Ifeanyi Ugulu, and Karl Wohlmuth) have finalized the publication project at mid-2021. The volume 22 has three Units. The Unit 1 is on “Sustainable Development Goal Nine and Africa Development – Continental Perspectives”. The focus in the Unit 1 is on continental African issues of SDG 9. Unit 2 is on “Sustainable Development Goal Nine and Achievements by Countries, Sectors and Targets”. The focus is to assess the performance on SDG 9 for sector cases (financial services and agriculture, energy and transport infrastructure, mining and social welfare). Unit 3 is on “Book Reviews and Book Notes”, mainly related to the publication on Sustainable Development Goals and explicitly on Sustainable Development Goal Nine.
A great number of experts have contributed to this impressive volume, which is one of the few publications highlighting the fundamental and complex issues around SDG 9 for Africa. The African Development Perspectives Yearbook is now an open access publication and is a peer-reviewed academic product. Over the decades (since the start of the publication project in 1989) the African Development Perspectives Yearbook, which is released annually from the Africa Research Group at the University of Bremen, became the leading English-language publication on Africa in Germany. As each issue has also a focus on Strategy, the book is of interest for African policymakers, donor agencies, journalists and media, regional and international organizations. As the 30 years Anniversary was celebrated in 2019, a Festschrift of contributors and supporters was published which contains a lot of information about the achievements and on the perspectives for the future work: https://media.suub.uni-bremen.de/handle/elib/4652?locale=de, and: https://doi.org/10.26092/elib/449
The new volume of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook for 2020/2021
Access for Download to Open Access and E-Book: https://www.lit-verlag.de/isbn/978-3-643-91404-0
The book is described by the volume editors as follows: “Volume 22 (2020/2021) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook with the title “Sustainable Development Goal Nine and African Development – Challenges and Opportunities” focusses on the relevance of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9 (“Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation") for Africa’s development. In three Units key issues in the context of SDG 9 are analysed at the continental level and in country case studies.
Unit 1 presents in four essays the African continental perspectives and achievements - on developing productive capacities towards sustainable industrialization, supporting frugal innovations for bottom-of-the pyramid households, reorganising commodity-based industrialization through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and making foreign direct investment work for inclusive growth and sustainable industrialisation.
Unit 2 presents six essays which are focussing on aspects of the eight targets of SDG 9. Two essays discuss perspectives of agro-industrial development and of financial innovations for Sudan and Nigeria; two essays consider the future of renewable energy projects in urban and rural areas of Nigeria and Cameroon; and two further essays analyse the importance of the roads system in Sudan for structural transformation and the role of sustainable mining activities in support of social infrastructure for Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Unit 3 presents book reviews and book notes in the context of SDG 9, classified around 11 categories. Reviewed are publications on SDG 9 and interlinkages with other SDGs, global and regional reports of relevance for Africa, and new books on African studies.
Volume 22 of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook is the first publication on the relevance of SDG 9 for African development.”
The theme “Sustainable Development Goal Nine And African Development – Challenges And Opportunities” is now of great importance for international development because assessing the performance of the Sustainable Development Goals has become a huge global task to guide politics. And, the SDGs are negatively affected by COVID-19 so that new actions are requested to reach the goals in difficult times. Various organizations do researches in and for Africa to assess the performance of the SDGs.
Important actors and analyses are found in the following links and texts:
UNIDO, Africa and SDG 9: https://www.unido.org/who-we-are/unido-and-sdgs/africa-and-sdg-9
UNDP, Goal 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: https://www.africa.undp.org/content/rba/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-9-industry-innovation-and-infrastructure.html
United Nations South Africa, Sustainable Development Goal 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: https://southafrica.un.org/en/sdgs/9
United Nations, SDG 9, “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal9
The Global Goals, SDG 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: https://www.globalgoals.org/goals/9-industry-innovation-and-infrastructure/
The Sustainable Development Goals Centre for Africa, the SDGs and the Sustainable Development Goal 9: https://www.facebook.com/SDGCAfrica/
West African SDGC/A Sub-regional Centre in Monrovia, Liberia (about the establishment of a new SDGC/A centre): http://sdg.iisd.org/news/sdgs-center-for-africa-establishes-west-african-center/
UNECA (IPRT/Integrated Planning and Reporting Toolkit) and SDG 9: https://iprt.uneca.org/agenda/sdg/overview/9
African Development Bank (AfDB), Mission & Strategy, the Bank’s work around the SDGs: https://www.afdb.org/en/about/mission-strategy
The editors of volume 22 of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook had the privilege to cooperate with many of these organisations and with various other research and policy institutions doing projects on the SDGs in and for Africa.
Professor Karl Wohlmuth has written a new research report on global technology trends and the adaptations of enterprises in Africa (see the PDF in the Blue Series Discussion Papers of IWIM: PDF-Langfassung-WWC-Heft Nummer 129). This report is part of the research programme by the professor on “Digital Transformation in Africa”.
In this contribution it is investigated how African countries can benefit from global technological developments, based on their own technological and scientific competencies and their institutional systems of innovation. The global technological dynamics reveals that the speed of technological development is increasing rapidly, what has to do with the new digital competencies which are prevalent in society and which are intensively used in science, technology, and innovation (STI) activities. Also, the global innovation competition is increasing, and it will further intensify. Africa will be able to benefit from these global technological developments if policies are adapted so that technology absorption and digital transformation are progressing. Windows of opportunity are emerging as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) advances in implementation. In the phase 2 of the AfCFTA an African Common Market will be established, so that the African enterprises will face a new environment for their businesses; competition and market development will be enhanced. In this context also the technologies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will be used to increase the productivity of the African companies, but these technologies also matter for various social areas and public policy fields, such as health, sanitation, and education. The COVID-19 crisis has given evidence that the digital transformation was accelerating in recent months in Africa; the 4IR technologies are used already in the health sectors of the African countries (but also in other sectors). It is becoming obvious that technological catching-up is determined strongly by the speed of digital transformation. The African Leapfrog Index (ALI) is a useful instrument and measures how African countries can leapfrog new global technologies through their own STI institutions and the available national innovation capacities. The African Leapfrog Index shows that catching-up processes can be very dynamic in Africa, although there are significant differences between countries and sectors in the processes of digital and technological change. The initial structure of the country, the economic geography, the digital and technological readiness, and the policies pursued matter a lot.
Most relevant for digital and technological catching-up processes in Africa are the enterprises (small and large ones, domestic and foreign ones, those in state’s property and those in private property). When considering the dynamics of enterprises in Africa, one can see that there are enterprises which have the ability and strength to shape the market conditions and to reconstruct the business conditions in markets (the so-called “African Challengers”, a term introduced by The Boston Consulting Group/BCG). But there are also some few enterprises in Africa which have global importance in affecting markets and business conditions (the so-called “Global Challengers”, also a term introduced by The Boston Consulting Group/BCG). Although the various components of the digitalization process in enterprises have a different scope and depth, one can say that already many African enterprises follow a pro-active strategy of digital transformation. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) can also facilitate the development of so-called “Technology Challengers” (also a term introduced by BCG) in Africa with enterprises which are leading in specific technology fields being of relevance to Africa. These enterprises can have impact on issues which are determining the global competitiveness of African products and services. Technology Hubs and Technology Start-ups are of growing importance for Africa, although the concentration of them in a few African countries is not a positive trend for the many other African countries; their enterprise dynamics is negatively affected. But new developments show also that alternative forms of technology hubs and start-ups are emerging in Africa which may contribute to the dynamics of technology development. These alternative forms are not primarily profit-oriented, but are of collective interest; these are solidarity, cooperative, and social ventures. These enterprises are less hierarchical in organization and less controlled by private capital; they are less structured from the top and less organized through central public interventions. The innovative business actions are coming rather from the bottom and through local actors and decision-makers.
The large technology enterprises, the technology start-ups, and the technology hubs in Africa are supported by various excellence research institutions which are affiliated to universities and to private and public research institutions and agencies. The excellence research centres are focussed on key problems of social and economic development in Africa. In the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) these excellence centres can lead - according to their specialisation - to a network of scientific division of labour all over Africa, by giving impulses to established and new technology enterprises. The excellence research institutions and the technology enterprises will contribute in their environment to a more productive private sector and to a deepening of Africa’s integration process. The economic and the scientific division of labour will be supported all over the AfCFTA by new Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) policies for the continent. The Strategic Science and Research Policy of the African Union (AU) is now based on the Science, Technology, and Innovation Strategy For Africa 2024 (STISA-2024). With STISA-2024 a frame was created to impact on six (6) major research priority fields which were selected as most relevant research priorities for Africa to advance STI. These six research priority fields reflect on the one side the relative strength of Africa’s research capacities and the abundance of productive factors in Africa, and on the other side the opportunities of Africa-wide new research initiatives a) for eliminating the many communication barriers of integration in Africa, especially through new infrastructure projects, b) for protecting the environment and the natural resources in Africa, especially by water management and new satellite navigation technologies, and c) for networking the plans, ideas and activities of economic and scientific actors in Africa, especially by introducing new STI policies.
The next volume of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook (Volume 23/2022) will consider in depth the issues of “Digital Transformation in Africa”. Business opportunities in Africa through digitization will be reviewed for countries, sectors and enterprises, and African start-ups will be analysed in their new roles for entrepreneurship development. Units on West Africa, Cameroon and South Africa will be presented in the volume with numerous essays. But there will also be individual essays to survey the theme of “Digital Transformation in Africa” in analytic essays. The book reviews and book notes section (a whole Unit of volume 23/2022) will give information on most recent publications in the field (see the link for the Call for Papers on volume 23/2022: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/index.php?content=345&lng=de, and: https://www.karl-wohlmuth.de/african_development_perspectives_yearbook/).
In his statement “Sliding Doors: The Day US Democracy Almost Died” (see the blog on the homepage of Thomas Palley, Co-editor, Review of Keynesian Economics: https://thomaspalley.com/?p=1902) we find the following words:
“Sunday January 10, 2021. It is now four days since the January 6 mob attack on the US Congress which President Donald Trump incited. In a manner akin to a combat situation, the numbness induced by the overwhelming nature of the event is giving way to shock and anger. What is also becoming clear is just how close US democracy came to dying.
The film Sliding Doors begins with two different scenarios in which the course of the main protagonist’s life depends on whether or not she catches the subway by seconds. The events of January 6 have a Sliding Doors quality to them.
It now seems the attack has backfired for Trump and turned into a political fiasco. That fiasco resonates with Adolf Hitler’s failed 1923 Munich Beer Hall putsch (German for coup) – though lest we get carried away, let us not forget Hitler returned and took power ten years later, and we all know what followed.
Hitler’s failed Munich putsch is one scenario. The other scenario is the Bolshevik Party’s sudden seizure of power in St. Petersburg, Russia in October 1917. That coup succeeded and launched a totalitarian dictatorship that was to last almost seventy-five years.
It is easy to imagine a scenario in which Trump’s mob had been better organized and more ruthless, and in which they had seized Congress and summarily executed Democratic Senators and House members – along with Senator Mitt Romney, who has been heroic in his opposition to Trump. That would have left a rump majority of willing accomplice Republicans, plus a smaller group of Vichyssoise Republicans who meekly towed the line.
In that imagined scenario, Trump would have been able to declare a state of emergency which would have been supported by the military, under orders from his Secretary of Defence henchman. The rump Republican Party would likely have rubber stamped everything. In one swoop, US democracy would have been felled, in a manner similar to the Bolshevik takeover of Russia.”
Source: The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/06/trump-capitol-american-carnage-washington; Story: American carnage: how Trump's mob ran riot in the Capitol
In his E-Mail to colleagues Thomas Palley writes: “I have posted (see the PDF: Palley-Globalization, January 2021) a new research paper titled ‘National Policy Space: Reframing the Political Economy of Globalization and its Implications for National Sovereignty and Democracy’. The terrible political events of the last few months make it even more urgent that we unpack the political economy of the last forty years and its corrosive effects. I hope the paper can contribute to unpacking globalization’s contribution to the toxic brew.”
The paper is important as it shows that there are different alternatives to organize globalization to the benefit of the world economy, to the benefit of all geo-political regions, and to the benefit of the people, and that some alternatives are associated with the chance to preserve national sovereignty and democracy. When four economists published nearly 20 years ago an essay on the issue “How much globalization does the world bear?”, the collaborating economists had something like a political economy view in mind, although quite different theoretical views were prevalent in the group. A short summary in English of the study „Wie viel Globalisierung verträgt die Welt?“ is found below, an article written by Hans-Werner Sinn, Michael Rauscher, Rainer Bartel, and Karl Wohlmuth (Link to the article which is available for a download at: https://www.ifo.de/publikationen/2002/zeitschrift-einzelheft/ifo-schnelldienst-242002). The Abstract reads as follows:
“The term globalization has dominated the public debate for years. For some the opening of markets has not gone far enough, for others globalization has led to further inequalities between economies and has enlarged the distance between industrial and developing countries. Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn discusses the economic forces that have been released in the globalization process. In the opinion of Prof. Michael Rauscher, Rostock University, globalization will undoubtedly continue to progress, but it does not only need international co-ordination. On the contrary, in a globalized world there are good arguments for the subsidiarity principle: Problems should be dealt with and solved at the lowest possible level. Many problems that arise in connection with globalization can be managed at the national level. Also for Prof. Karl Wohlmuth, Bremen University, the structure of globalization is the determining issue. What is important for him is "the extent to which there is a willingness to adapt national and international framework conditions to the speed of globalization". For Prof. Rainer Bartel, Linz University, globalization must be "efficient" and "sustainable" but "scientists and politicians are still not ready for this". We now know that such analyses and recommendations remained confined to the academic circles; a real political shaping/reviewing/controlling/transforming of the globalization process was not done, neither at the national level, nor at the global level.
The Globalization Pentagon: Globalization traps, globalization trilemma, globalization dimensions (drivers), globalization phases, and globalization speed
Too many economists, political scientists and sociologists who were working on globalization issues followed the mainstream view that “the more globalization is enforced, the better the results for all will be”, assuming that the welfare effects will trickle down to all nations and to all people, But, neither the poverty of people, nor the poverty of regions were eliminated (SDG 1: No Poverty), and neither the lower middle class, nor the upper middle class have enjoyed stable jobs, social security, and sustainable income increases (SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth). Increasing inequality within countries and between countries occurred and became a growing burden (SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities). We speak now not only about a “middle-income trap” but also about a “high-income trap”. And all this has a lot to do with the globalization process as it unfolds. It is necessary to study these globalization traps and to work hard along the lines of identifying the causes of the two traps as these are associated with a severe globalization fatigue. The globalization trilemma is a second area for studying globalization as the tensions between globalization, the nation state, and the democracy are prevalent. Also, third, it is necessary to work more on the globalization dimensions/drivers (global trade of goods and services, global technology flows, global value chains, global financial flows, and global labour flows). Fourth, the globalization phases have to become more deeply researched, as the turn from globalization 3.0 (with computers, automation, and robots) to globalization 4.0 (with digitalization, industry 4.0, and artificial intelligence) will impact heavily on the stability of jobs and the changes of income distribution. Lastly, a fifth factor of research interest is the globalization speed, observed by the rapid growth of scientific and technological developments in conjunction with digitalization; this process will change the outlook for globalization quite rapidly. In order to control populism and extremism in conjunction with globalization processes, such researches along this pentagon are urgent. Professor Karl Wohlmuth researches since many years on this globalization pentagon, on these interconnected five elements of globalization. But, policy action on the basis of the globalization pentagon is most urgent to avoid populism and extremism.
Recent months were busy times for Economics Professor Karl Wohlmuth. He guided the project “Festschrift Anniversary of Thirty Years (1989-2019) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook”. The Festschrift was finalized as a first edition in November 2020, and the second edition appeared in January 2021. The University of Bremen has republished the Festschrift as a major document on its media platform. The number of contributors to the Festschrift was very high, and the response to make recommendations for a further quality increase was great. It was proposed to move with the Yearbook to an open access system; negotiations are now underway. A great number of suggestions came in to make the Yearbook a real platform for success stories and sustainable reforms in Africa. It was decided by the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen to publish a Festschrift, as a physical celebration of the Thirty Years Anniversary was not possible because of COVID-19.
Professor Wohlmuth and the editors of volume 22 (2020/21) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook have in the meantime finalized the new volume. It is now in the process of publication. The new volume has two Units with twelve chapters and a further Unit with book reviews and book notes. Professor Wohlmuth and the team of Unit Editors have introduced the content of all the three Units. The volume is quite relevant as the theme “Sustainable Development Goal Nine and African Development” touches issues of promoting industrialization, developing infrastructure, and building innovation capacity in Africa. Also, the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen has released in December 2020 the new call for papers for volume 23 (2022) on “Business Opportunities, Start-ups and Digital Transformation in Africa”. A Unit on “COVID-19 and repurposing industries in Africa” and Units with country cases of digital transformation and digital entrepreneurship are envisaged. There is already great interest to become part of the new Yearbook project.
Professor Reuben A. Alabi from the Department of Agricultural Economics at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria has finalized important research work for international and regional African organizations, and for the Yearbook in cooperation with Professor Wohlmuth. Also, a major research report by the two professors came out on “Waste Management Policies in Nigeria and Germany”, with a focus on the municipalities of Lagos and Bremen. Professor Alabi has also finalized a study on “Financial innovations and agricultural development in Nigeria”. The study is part of his research programme “Environment and Development Management Nigeria-Germany”. He will now take up again his duties as a full professor of agricultural economics at Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria. In the Festschrift “Thirty Years Anniversary of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook” he gave an account of the role the Yearbook has played for enhancing reforms in Africa. Professor Alabi will continue his work as co-editor of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook.
Professor Wohlmuth was active in evaluating applications for professorship, research manuscripts, and international study programmes. He was again appointed as a member of a promotions committee for professors (associate and full professors) at a university in Michigan, USA. He did reviews for development economics and environmental economics journals. He evaluated international study programmes in Tajikistan. This work was possible only in the form of virtual meetings, what limits considerably real evaluations. Tajikistan is reforming its study programmes also in the field of economics. The study programmes related to economics and business studies in Tajikistan intend to support also the research component, especially so in the direction of increasing the competitiveness of the Tadjik economy. It was found out during the meetings that more international cooperation of teachers and researchers and higher financial support for individual research programmes are quite necessary. While the leading staff persons of the universities in Tajikistan are linked to the government offices and/or the traditional elites, the young teachers and researchers are mobile, motivated, mostly English-speaking, and interested to cooperate with universities in countries of the European Union and with universities in other geo-political regions (USA, China, Russia, India).
The Government of Bremen is on the move to develop a new “Innovation Strategy for the Country State of Bremen 2030” to replace the outdated Innovation Programme 2020 and the Cluster Strategy 2020. Professor Wohlmuth works on the issues of innovation and technology policy of Bremen since the 1980s when his institute produced a handbook “Bremen as a location for high technology industries”. In recent months, Professor Wohlmuth has contributed essays on new innovation policies for Bremen to support in this way a new innovation strategy for Bremen. The COVID-19-crisis gave an additional push for reforms of innovation policies as many industries in Bremen are severely affected, because leading cluster industries (space and aircraft industries, automotive sector, logistics and transport industry, tourism, and others) have to overcome the crisis in the medium- to long-term. The main issue is to combine new cluster and innovation strategies with a strategy to navigate the industries out of the COVID-19-crisis. The Professor has emphasized five elements of an action programme for Bremen (institutional reform component; strengthening the regional innovation system; value-added-focussed and employment-oriented component; further developing the health, medical support, and care sector; and supporting digitalization).
Professor Karl Wohlmuth has accepted the offer of the University of Bremen Archives (Universitätsarchiv) to transmit a considerable part of his scientific research and teaching fundus, with materials classified on eight categories (first, Teaching Projects since 1971; second, Integrated Introductory Study Programmes in the 1970s; third, Research and Consulting Activities on Sudan 1978-2021; fourth, Researches on African Development since the 1970s, Consulting on Africa since the 1980s, and Editing/Publishing the African Development Perspectives Yearbook since 1989; fifth, Shaping the development of the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies since 1971; sixth, Organising the research, teaching, advisory, and training activities as the Director of the World Economy Research Group since the 1970s and of the IWIM/Institute for World Economics and International Management since 1987; seventh, Developing the international cooperation projects since 1971 for the University of Bremen, for the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, and for IWIM; and eighth, Documenting the personal development and the career of Karl Wohlmuth since the 1960s). Professor Wohlmuth celebrates in September 2021 50 years as professor of comparative economic systems at the University of Bremen, as he moved to the new university in September 1971. He came from the Institute for the Theory of Economic Policy at the FU of Berlin after work periods in Vienna and in Linz, Austria. He was part of a small group of professors who were in the first weeks of the new university appointed in meetings of the whole Senate of the Country State of Bremen, while months later the calls to Bremen and the appointments of professors were done by the Senator of Education and Science. An audio file of an interview with Professor Karl Wohlmuth about his life, his scientific work, and his experiences at the University of Bremen is also available in the University of Bremen Archives.
Digital transformation already changes the ways and means of manufacturing production in Africa. In this study, major issues of Africa’s technological efforts and capabilities are discussed in the context of the severe employment crisis and the ongoing digital transformation. First, the study introduces into the key concepts which are now of relevance in the context of manufacturing sectors, namely measuring technological efforts and capabilities in Africa, assessing structural change and employment in Africa, and analysing the progress of digital transformation in Africa. So far, the impact of digital transformation on the building of technological capabilities is under-researched, as is the impact on structural change and employment. It is understood that more clarity with regard of concepts and definitions is needed to support the policymakers. Second, evidence is presented on the extent of Africa’s technological heterogeneity, on the progress in different dimensions of digital transformation, and on the implications for structural change and employment creation of the ongoing digital transformation. The extent of Africa’s technological heterogeneity and the progress of Africa’s digital transformation are highlighted by using appropriate indexes and indicators. The role of technology development and technology diffusion for structural change and employment creation in times of digital transformation is discussed; the new conditions for the accumulation of technological capabilities in Africa are assessed. Accumulation of technological capabilities and participation in the digital transformation are key for sustainable manufacturing sector developments in Africa; in this context country case studies (Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa) highlight important aspects of the potential benefits derived from digital transformation. Third, the impact of global techno-economic changes on manufacturing in Africa in times of digital transformation is reviewed, and the available options for building and accumulating technological capabilities are presented. A wider concept of capabilities is needed for Africa to be able to participate in the global digital transformation, by incorporating technological capabilities (how to engineer and to produce), innovation capabilities (how to organize processes of change), and ICT capabilities (how to store and to process data). Developing technological capabilities in the context of ICT capabilities and innovation capabilities matters for local and regional domestic firms and as well for foreign-owned enterprises in Africa. Examples brought in the study show that African countries and firms can react pro-actively to these global changes. Fourth, some policy recommendations and conclusions are following the analytical part of the working paper.
Source of Photo: Tony Blair Institute For Global Change; accessed from: https://institute.global/advisory/adapting-4ir-africas-development-age-automation
Manufacturing in Africa is affected differently by various elements and forms of digital transformation. Informal and formal manufacturing firms are affected differently; agro-based and resource-based industries are also affected differently; and the same is true for high technology, medium technology, low technology, and service industries. This means that industry policies have to look at the particular segment of firms. Digital transformation also allows for “green growth” and “green industrialization” patterns of change in Africa. Environmentally-sound technologies impact on agriculture, industry, and services sectors. Examples are presented in the study for such sectors also in the form of boxes. It is also good news that informal manufacturing firms in Africa can also benefit from the effects of the digital transformation on technological capabilities, innovation capabilities, and ICT capabilities. Cases of Nigerian informal sector firms in the automotive components, transport vehicle, and ICT hardware industry show this new trend which is associated with the digital transformation. Cases of Tunisian small informal and formal sector firms in textiles and garments, electronic and electric components, optical and medical products, waste management, renewable energy management, and in agro-business sectors show a similar trend. For South Africa, we see an impact of digital competences over many sectors with small and middle formal and informal firms, such as in mining, in agro-industries, and in service industries. It is also discussed in the study how employment creation and skills development are related to the trend of digital transformation. There is a spread of digital skills all over Africa, and digital entrepreneurship ecosystems are developing quickly, such as in Kenya. Digital hubs play an increasing role in Africa and combine the activities of researchers, of small and middle firms, and of start-ups. But, the progress is uneven, as we can see from the location of digital hubs which are found in many places of Africa; but we see a concentration of such hubs in some few countries, such as in Kenya. Digital skills impact considerably on employment creation, on the development of firms and start-ups, and on the growth of entrepreneurship; the spread of these skills transforms the manufacturing sectors widely in Africa. A new base for manufacturing development is created through digital transformation, also by using open innovation platforms in a cooperation between public and private research & development centres, start-ups, local and global customers, foreign direct investors, and African domestic firms.
Bibliographic Information (on two versions of the study):
Wohlmuth, Karl, 2019, Technological Capabilities, Structural Change, Employment and Digital Transformation, pages 3-53, in: Berichte, 29, Jg., Nr. 215, 2019 / II, ISSN 1022-3258, Thema des Heftes: Mut zur Unabhängigkeit: Afrika, Ukraine, Moldawien; Forschungsinstitut der Internationalen Wissenschaftlichen Vereinigung Weltwirtschaft und Weltpolitik (IWVWW) e. V., Berlin
Wohlmuth, Karl, 2019, Technological Development, Structural Change and Digital Transformation in Africa, 73 pages,
Berichte aus dem Weltwirtschaftlichen Colloquium der Universität Bremen, Nr. 128, Oktober 2019, ISSN 0948-3829, Hrsg.: IWIM/Institut für Weltwirtschaft und Internationales Management, Universität Bremen; Access: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/blaue_reihe/
Project: Digital Transformation and Innovative Industrial Policies in Africa:
This is a research project supported by the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen. Focus is on country experiences in manufacturing development in times of digital transformation for Tunisia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Sudan. Some studies with background material and project insights from cases in Africa are also published in volumes of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook (see: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/index.php?content=345&lng=de, and: https://www.karl-wohlmuth.de/african_development_perspectives_yearbook/, and: https://www.lit-verlag.de/publikationen/reihen/african-development-perspectives-yearbook/?p=1). The volume of the Yearbook which is planned for the year 2022 will present Units and Contributions on “Business Opportunities, the Growth of Start-Ups, and the Digital Transformation in Africa”.
Professor Emeritus Karl Wohlmuth was very busy in recent months in research, evaluation and publication activities, but also as a lecturer in seminars and workshops.
Economics Professor Karl Wohlmuth was again called to cooperate with the Promotion’s Committee of the University of Khartoum, Sudan. The Committee invites External Assessors to prepare for the promotion to Full Professors and Associate Professors. The Faculty of Economics and Social Studies of the University of Khartoum had again proposed Karl Wohlmuth to assist in the promotion of a colleague. Professor Wohlmuth has already done such assessments prior to this assignment not only in Sudan, but also in similar Committees of Botswana, South Sudan, and Nigeria. The Committee of the University of Khartoum was several times calling the professor from Bremen to assist.
The Economics Editor of Routledge Publisher has again recruited Professor Wohlmuth to give an opinion on a book proposal on global technology and international development issues. The professor was several times asked by the Editor to give his advice. Also for refereed international development journals the professor is regularly asked to peer review manuscripts.
On Sudan and South Sudan, Karl Wohlmuth was writing encyclopaedic articles for an International Handbook on North Africa and the Near East about Sudan and South Sudan. The task was to balance an introductory text on economic, historical, social, political, and geographic issues. He has already contributed to various handbooks with articles about specific issues (such as trade and social policy) on Sudan and South Sudan. The International Handbook will be published in 2020. Karl Wohlmuth was also invited to share his knowledge and experience on Sudan/South Sudan with experts at the Foreign Office in Berlin, and he was invited to speak at the University of Mainz about the “Sudanese Revolution” since December 2018. Karl Wohlmuth has written widely about the economic philosophy and strategy of the Salvation Regime of Al-Bashir in Sudan. It is intended to write about the theme of the “Sudanese Revolution” along the lines of the lecture in Mainz. Professor Wohlmuth argues that six pillars of power centres and their interactions in politics have to be considered to make the “Sudanese Revolution” a sustainable success.
Professor Wohlmuth advises since 2015 the research programme of Professor Reuben A. Alabi at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies in Bremen. Professor Reuben A. Alabi from the Alli Ambrose University in Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria, is researching in Bremen under a guest researcher agreement, but he is quite often travelling to his home university in Nigeria and to places in Africa to participate at workshops and seminars. Recently he was in Cape Town to join a research conference of African economists. He travels to Africa to cooperate with universities in Nigeria for the transfer of his research findings and to present his research findings at workshops which are organized by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. AERC provides also generous research grants to the Nigerian professor. He was also Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies. Professor Alabi is active on researching issues of agriculture development in Nigeria, focussing on agricultural value chain analyses, but he has also written a study, in cooperation with Professor Wohlmuth, on Waste Management Policies and Strategies in Nigeria in comparison with the Waste Management Policies and Strategies practised in Germany. The studies written by Professor Alabi are published through his international research networks, but also in the African Development Perspectives Yearbook, and in the White Series and Blue Series Working Papers of IWIM. He is co-editor of the Yearbook since around ten years.
Another guest professor, Professor Chunji Yun from Japan, who cooperates since many years with Professor Wohlmuth, has now presented some publications following from the research results of his study time at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies at the University of Bremen between September 2017 and August 2018. He was researching in Bremen on macroeconomic effects on EU and Germany of global and regional value chains in automotive and electronics industries across Germany and the Visegrád countries (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, and Poland). Professor Wohlmuth has supported the research programme as well as a prior research period of Professor Yun when he was working about “Japan and the Global and Regional Value Chains” for 18 months at IWIM in Bremen. He has published in the Book Series/Schriftenreihe of IWIM and in the White Series and Blue Series Working Papers of IWIM.
As the Chief Coordinator and Director of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen, Professor Karl Wohlmuth is responsible to edit, together with the Managing Editor Professor Tobias Knedlik from the Fulda University of Applied Sciences, the African Development Perspectives Yearbook. Professor Wohlmuth informed recently the public about an anniversary of the Yearbook Project. The volume for 2019 of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook was released by the LIT Verlag. As the first volume has appeared in 1989, the Yearbook Project has now a history of 30 years. Therefore it is time to celebrate the Anniversary of the year 2019; a programme for this event is worked out. The University of Bremen released a press information about the Yearbook Anniversary. The first issue of 1989 had as the theme “Human Dimensions of Adjustment”, while the issue for 2019 was on “Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Inclusive Growth in Africa - Human Skills Development and Country Cases”. Research groups work now for the volume of 2020/21 on the theme “Sustainable Development Goal Nine and African Development - Challenges and Opportunities”. There are already plans for the 2022 volume. Focus will be on “Business Opportunities, Growth of Start-Ups, and Digital Transformation in Africa”.
Professor Wohlmuth was invited in February 2020 by the German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn to participate at the International Conference on “Africa’s Employment Perspectives up to 2040”. This was a high-level event with key participants, speakers, and discussants. The DIE is now established as a high-rated global Think Tank. In contrast to the Asian employment creation strategies the policies for Africa to absorb annually more than 20 million people joining the labour force will be more complex.
Professor Wohlmuth participates from time to time at accreditation missions to evaluate international study programmes at universities in Germany. Recently he did this in Heidelberg, but other missions brought him to Berlin, Göttingen, Hannover, Wolfsburg, Giessen, and to other places. There is an increasing diversity of such programmes in Germany, what also means that foreign students are attracted more and more to such English-language programmes.
At the International Graduate Centre (IGC) of the University of Applied Sciences Bremen Professor Wohlmuth gives lectures at seminars for Chinese professional expert groups from provinces, autonomous regions, and major towns in the PR of China. He speaks about innovation policies in Bremen and he was also invited to speak about proposals for a European Belt and Road Initiative (analogues to the Chinese Belt and Road cross-border-project). The purpose of the European Belt and Road Initiative is to give Europe a new perspective of integration on the basis of a giant infrastructure project. The idea for such a project was developed by an international research institute in Vienna, Austria. In contrast to the Chinese project the European project would involve more companies from the countries involved, and so it could become a true multinational project with a fair distribution of benefits. The Corona Pandemic will however change the course of the project, but will not make it obsolete.
In a new research project of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives with the theme “Digital Transformation, Manufacturing Growth and Structural Change in Africa” Karl Wohlmuth has published two versions of a working paper on “Technological Capabilities, Structural Change, and Digital Transformation”. In the new research project which was preceded by consulting work for UNIDO, Karl Wohlmuth looks at the role of digital transformation for structural change and manufacturing growth in Africa, focussing mainly on countries like Tunisia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Sudan. Especially, the repercussions of the digital transformation on deindustrialization and reindustrialization will be investigated. Already, studies on Tunisia were made available.